tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 9, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
do they really believe that apartheid is a lie cooked up by the media? well, the weird product of this moment is to see the wild right is so wild that not even ted cruz can keep the dirt ball under control. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. five days, that's how many days congress has to get its act together to pass an extension of unemployment insurance. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. when you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual, unemployed group in our economy, and it really, while it seems good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help. >> i mean, first of all, almost no one is getting 99 weeks.
federal unemployment insurance benefits kick in after a person's state benefits run out and range between 14 to 47 weeks, depending on the state, but senator rand paul is trying to provide a gop rationale for allowing those benefits to expire. without the extension, far too many americans are headed toward a cruel holiday surprise. of course, it does not have to be this way. congress is in session today, and if they wanted to, by the end of tonight, they can get this done. and so, we present the latest installment of our "all in bizarro congress" series, a look into the alternate reality in which those republican lawmakers actually do their job for the american people. >> the house has voted to extend unemployment benefits and with bipartisan support. >> the question's on passing. the ayes have it. >> today, house republicans
finally saw the practical, positive implications for all americans and voted to extend unemployment benefits. as in so many other times of elevated, long-term unemployment, this was a bipartisan vote. republicans were emphatic about how rough this economy is for working people. >> let's put people before politics and let's put this country back to work. >> the bill will next go to the senate, where its passage is all but assured. >> this is an opportunity for the senate to return to the finest traditions of this body, where we listen to and fight for the american people. >> democrats who have long championed a benefits extension cheered the house's actions. >> i've congratulated the republicans. >> the republicans stepped up and acted as adults. >> i do want to commend both sides of the aisle for working so hard towards an agreement. >> had congress failed to act, 1.3 million people would have lost their unemployment benefits just three days after christmas. emergency unemployment
compensation, the law which extends unemployment benefits beyond the standard 26 weeks, was actually signed in to law by president bush in june 2008. the unemployment rate then was just 5.5%. in the 5 1/2 years since, nearly 24 million workers have received extended unemployment benefits, according to the labor department. >> i was able to support myself because i received those vital unemployment insurance benefits. >> reporte >> that money goes right back into the economy, spent on necessities like food and clothing. >> we had a victory today for the american people, and frankly, we also had a victory for common sense. >> without today's extension, the economy would have generated 240,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2014, according to an estimate by the council of economic advisors. and economic output would have been affected by as much as $26
billion through 2015, according to the congressional budget office. some have raised concerns about long-term benefits creating a disincentives to find work, but according to jpmorgan, hundreds of thousands of people would just give up and drop out of the workforce completely if extended benefits weren't in effect to keep them looking. today the house took a big step towards helping the unemployed get back on their feet. democracy in action is a beautiful thing. all right, joining me now back in this real reality, congressman jerry nather, democrat from new york. we are tantalizingly close to the alternate universe we just showed in which we just got this done. is it going to happen? you've got one week in capitol hill to get this thing passed. is it going to happen? >> i don't know. at this point, we just don't know. i hope so, obviously.
senator murray on behalf of the democrats in the senate and congressman paul ryan on behalf of republicans in the house are trying to negotiate a budget agreement. the democrats in the house are saying part of the budget agreement should be an extension of the unemployment insurance. the republicans are opposed to that. whether it will get in or not, i don't know. >> why are they opposed to it? what possible -- i mean -- >> they have come -- well, you heard rand paul before. you ran rand paul saying he thought it was a disincentive to unemployment and causes people not to work, which is absurd. the academic research shows just the opposite, number one, and number two, in an environment in which there is simply no employment, which there are three applicants for every job, all that the cessation of unemployment insurance does, aside from making people starve, is remove some money from society, from the economy so that people who no longer get unemployment insurance are buying much less, and therefore, other people are not working to supply their needs, and it increases the joblessness. the estimate is that cessation of these benefits would increase
unemployment, increase unemployment by about 300,000 to 350,000 people. >> so, how is it not the case that they do not -- this is one of those, you know, defined political gravity moments we see so often. there's a clear substantive case for it. politically, i think it's broadly popular. how do you wear them down? like, how can they stand against this? why don't they feel any heat for it? >> because the people who are victims of this don't vote for them, or at least they don't think they vote for them. it's the same with food stamps. it used to be there was a wall-to-wall consensus that in a time of recession, when unemployment is high, you had extended unemployment benefits and increased food stamps, and that in fact -- >> and that wasn't like a partisan political issue. that was just what you did. >> no, that was wall-to-wall, right to left, everybody agreed to that. one of the things we said were the programs like unemployment insurance, food stamps, when you had a recession, people were out of work, more people got unemployment insurance, more people got food stamps, that's
when you should spend more money on this and that helped sustain the economy so it didn't collapse completely and helped restore employment. now you've got a lot of republicans who just don't believe that anymore, and a school of, i won't say a school of economics, because i don't think there are any self-respecting economists who believe this, but a school of political people -- >> right. >> -- who say that this just causes dispenependency and i th the tea partiers in particular think the enemy is dependency and people who are dependent on unemployment insurance or food stamps are going to vote democratic and take the country away. >> there is also the arguments republicans are saying, simultaneously, saying, you know, the economy is good enough that people who want to find work should be able to find it. we don't need this emergency measure anymore, and at the same time, of course, the obama care economy is horrible, obama socialism is destroying our economy and no one can get a job. >> well, whatever reason you ascribe to the fact that we are in a weak economy, the fact is, unemployment is 7%.
the percentage of the people in the workforce is about 63% of the working age, which is the low for a long time. the economy is not good. it may be better than it was a year ago, but it's not good. unemployment is very high. the ability -- there are three applicants for every job. making people more desperate to get jobs, even if it meant that someone was so desperate that he got a job he wouldn't otherwise would have gotten, if you're not increasing the number of jobs, that simply means you're throwing someone else out of work. >> right. congressman jerry nadler, who's been fighting these battles for a while now, thank you so much for joining me. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> joining me now, heda bruche with the washington center for equitable growth, housed at the center for american progress, a progressive think tank. heather, can we start basic here? what is unemployment insurance and why do we have it? >> thanks for asking, chris. that's a great question. unemployment insurance are benefits there when somebody loses their job through no fault of their own. it's benefits that are supposed
to help them make ends meet while they search for a new job, and critically, these benefits help keep the economy afloat in communities that have high unemployment. you've got a lot of unemployed people, they can't pay their rent, can't buy groceries. these benefits help sort of fill in that gap. and so, you know, now, because we continue to have relatively high unemployment, these benefits play a very important role in people's lives and in communities all around the country. >> one thing that congressman nadler and i didn't get to, which is really important there was a great "the new york times" article i think about a week ago. there is a group of people who have been unemployed for a long period of time and there's a kind of self-perpetuating cycle that kicks in where employers appear reticent to hire people who have been unemployed for a long time, therefore making them unlikely to stay employed. >> exactly. i mean, this is one of, quite frankly, one of the saddest stories of the great recession. you've got a lot of people who have been out there pounding the pavement for months, if not years, trying to find a new job. and each month that they spend unemployed makes it just a
little bit harder. employers, you know -- let's think just for a moment about young workers, right? why would an employer hire somebody who's, you know, 23, 24, 25, who's been out of work, when they can hire a newly minted graduate, right? they might want to go for the newly minted person, rather than somebody who's been out of work and maybe they have fears about how they would perform. of course, the reality is those folks are ready to work, they've got a lot of skills, but you're seeing, we could call it discrimination going on towards the long-term unemployed, and it's a real tragedy, because people do need to get back to work. >> i thought this from the "wall street journal" was interesting about some of the research on how long-term, emergency unemployment insurance that extends past the normal limits has helped workers. the researchers found the extended benefits essentially delayed the exit of workers who eventually left the labor market. it didn't seem to produce the job finding rate," contra rand
paul," but for people employed a long time, kept them in the labor force. in other words, people who had things to contribute to our society were kept looking for a job because they had this money coming in. >> exactly. so, what unemployment benefits do is they give people that time to search for the new job. it helps tie them over, it helps keep them searching week after week. when you get those unemployment benefits, you have to continually say that you are able, willing to work, you're actively seeking a job. so, this is a really important way to keep people tethered to the labor market. you know, one of the problems we're seeing is that the share of americans with a job is still hovering just a few tenths of a percentage points above the darkest days of the great recession. we have a lot of people who still aren't at work, and keeping them attached to the labor force, keeping them searching and giving them that income that they very much need while they're doing so really does help them find the better fit, help them find that new job. >> this is one of these situations, and we've seen a number of them, where congress can just do this very
straightforward, simple thing. it could take a vote. it doesn't have to craft legislation. it just has to do the simple thing. it's got a time limit. it would reduce the sum total of misery. it would be better for everyone in the society. it would be better for places trying to sell things. it would be better for everyone around. they just have to not do something stupid, destructive, sadistic and cruel for no reason, and we will see in the next five days whether they do that. heather boushey from the washington center for equitable growth, thank you. coming up, rand paul is trying to drum up african-american votes for the republican party. >> showing your driver's license to have an honest election i think is not unreasonable. >> yes, that guy. that story's ahead. i am today by luck.
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okay, let's pretend for a moment you're a tea party activist. everyone on the left hates you. many on the right hate you, too, for that matter, but you have succeeded in one pretty surprising way. we'll be talking about that later tonight. but in the meantime, answer this question. does the left need its own version of the tea party in order to realize its agenda?
why or why not? tweet your answers to #allinwithchris. i'll share them at the end of the show. ♪ ♪ i wanna spread a little love this year ♪ ♪ i wanna spread a little love and cheer ♪ [ male announcer ] this december, remember -- provocative design and exacting precision come together in one powerful package at the lexus december to remember sales event, with some of the best offers of the year on our most thrilling models. this is the pursuit of perfection. yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate. so i knit until it was full. you'd be crazy not to. is that nana? [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. prefer the taste of gevalia house blend over the taste of starbucks house blend? not that we like tooting our own horn but... ♪
toot toot. [ male announcer ] find gevalia in the coffee aisle or at gevalia.com rand paul was in detroit this weekend for a special mission for the gop. what happened next might surprise you. >> the republican party has a problem with black voters. only 6% of african-americans voted republican in 2012. >> you cannot base winning the political coalition on white men as your core base. >> i think the republican party needs to evolve. >> they can never win another national election with less than
10% of the black vote. >> if he can get black vote if they 24i6k about how they're reaching out to black voters. >> in case you haven't heard, the republican party has a very big electoral problem with african-americans. >> we have to do a lot better job and do a lot more to make up ground in minority communities. >> the party has had a problem for years with black voters, but it's reached epic proportions in the obama era. in 2012, barack obama won a whopping 93% of african-american voters. republican leadership has seen those numbers, and they are afraid. they know that to win national elections, they need more african-american voters in the tent, and to get those voters, they need a messenger, someone uniquely gifted in speaking across the perilous racial divide, to communicate the party's message to african-american voters across the country, and they seem to have found their guy. >> would you have voted for the civil rights act of 1964? >> i like the civil rights act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public
domains, and i'm all in favor of that. >> but? [ laughter ] >> you had to ask me the but. i don't like the idea of telling private business owners. i abhor racism, i think it's a bad business decision to exclude anyone from your restaurant, but i believe in private ownership. >> rand paul followed up with this cringe-inducing interview -- >> do you think a private business has a right to say we don't serve black people? >> yeah, i'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form, but i think what's important about this debate is not getting into any specific gotcha on this, but asking the question, what about freedom of speech? should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? should we limit racists from speaking? i don't want to be associated with those people, but i also don't want to limit their speech in any way. >> yes, it appears the gop has chosen that rand paul as the party's ambassador to black america.
in sofar, the results have not been great. there was howard university. >> if i would have said, who do you think the founders of the naacp are, do you think the republicans or democrats -- would anyone in here know they were all republicans? >> yes. >> all right, all right, you know more than i know. okay, and that's -- and i don't mean that to be insulting. i don't know what you know. first, one of the african-american u.s. senators was a guy named, uh -- blanking on his name from massachusetts. >> brooks. >> brooks, edwin brooks. and his, his -- howard graduate, yes. >> a few months later, it came out that paul employed a man who once went by the name southern avenger and once said that "although lincoln's assassin, john wilkes booth's heart was in the right place, the southern avenger does regret that lincoln's murder automatically turned him into a martyr." adding that he raises a personal toast every may 10th to celebrate john wilkes booth's
birthday. jack hunter, aka, southern avenger, resigned shortly later. but rand paul was back out trying to win the hearts and minds of african-american voters, going on the record defending voter i.d. laws just days after north carolina's republican governor signed into law arguably the most restrictive voting laws since the voting rights act was signed in 1965. >> paul says he has no problem with a new north carolina law which simply requires voters to present their driver's license, that it's no comparison to jim crow era voter suppression. >> i don't think there is objective evidence that we're precluding african-americans from voting any longer. >> undeterred, this weekend paul was back at it in detroit. and by the looks of things, paul actually seems to have learned a lesson or two. instead of lecturing or condescending to his audience, paul simply focused on areas of shared concern. >> disproportionately, we're incarcerating blacks and latinos. something has to change. the war on drugs has gone awry and i'm for changing that.
in my state, you never get your voting rights back. i have a friend whose brother 30 years ago got caught growing marijuana plants. he still can't vote. >> rand paul might turn out to be the best hope the gop has. looking at his history, that is really saying something. joining me now, msnbc contributor james peterson, director of afrocono studies and associate professor of english at lehigh university. james, i'm of two minds about this. the entire enterprise seems doomed and preposterous, given the biography we've shown, yet his speech this weekend was better than i was anticipating. >> yeah, he's improved. he's a little bit more on message. remember, the message that i think that republican strategists believe will resonate coming from rand paul -- i know this seems like a stretch sometimes -- but his messaging around mass incarceration, around ending the so-called war on drugs, around mandatory minimums and voting rights for ex-cons and
ex-felons, i mean, those are the kinds of things that will resonate with some black voters, some latino voters, especially because the institution of mass incarcerations and imprisonment in the industrial complex obviously disproportionately affects people of color and poor folk. so, if he can stay on that message, he might be able to make a little headway, but chris, the only -- you know, people always talk about 90% of african-americans vote democratic. the reality is, the only way to really shave off black votes in any substantive way is to move to the left of the democratic party. moving to the right of the democratic party, which has been already moving to the right itself for so long, doesn't really make a lot of political sense. >> yeah, i mean, that is the core issue here, right? i mean when you look at the polling data when you look at, there's deep public opinion data about what different voters believe in different subdemographic groups and african-american voters vote democratic because their views are quite liberal, far more liberal than, for instance, the median white voter. >> that's exactly right. and again, i'm pretty sure that
someone on the republican side has got to understand that. but when you look at the sort of emerging figures for the republican presidential candidacy, it's interesting that rand paul is the one who may ultimately have the most cache, because the rest of those guys are not going to have much purse with the african-american community, and that's saying a lot, with the segment you just depicted. that 2010 comment about civil rights and sort of the howard debacle, i mean, those kinds of things in this environment for someone like rand paul to still emerge as the voice to talk about african-american engagement shows you exactly where the republican party is right now. >> that's what's so remarkable! i genuinely think it is the case -- and obviously, there is an african-american senator, republican scott of south carolina, who is the one african-american member of the united states senate and of all congress, if i'm not mistaken. you know, he, presumably, would also be a key messenger in this respect. but it is true that rand paul,
for all his history, actually is the best spokesperson on this. and my question to you is, does it read as a good-faith engagement or does it read as a stunt? because i basically go back and forth. >> well, i mean, i'm reading it more as more of a stunt. i mean, because the policies have got to change. >> right. >> again, mass incarceration, a really important issue, but you know, rand paul's trying to sell economic freedom zones in detroit, which you know, black folk understand that's going to expand the income and economic inequality in that region. you know, he doesn't talk about the fact they're going to relax capital gains tax in addition to removing those federal taxes. and so, i don't -- i think people can very, very easily see through it. it's quite transparent. and again, we haven't gotten away from the 2010 comments. no one's ever going to forget the comments on the campus of howard university, because that is the way that people think the republicans relate to different demographics, that they pander to them, they talk down to them, they think they're less intelligent, think they don't understand history. so, rand paul has fallen into the sort of traps of
republicanism over the last, you know, several decades or so, and i think it's very transparent at this point. >> there is a way, i think, to cash this out. i mean, if you're rand paul. whether this is a stunt or not, which is be a warrior on capitol hill for standard drug laws, and he does support standard drug laws, his voting record is pretty good on this, but it's a question of where you put your political capital. put yourself on the line, take political risk, go talk to your own constituencies about the evils and racism about mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex and then i'll start believing him. >> that's right, but chris, he can't do that. >> he cannot do that. xaz lakt paexactly the point. thank you. coming up next -- >> my name is nelson mandela.
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you'd better find that! >> we no longer accept the authority of a state that makes war on its own people. >> march 21st, 1960, 69 black south africans were shot and killed in the township of sharpeville, protesting what were known as the pass laws, legislation designed by south africa's apartheid government to control the movement of black south africans. the laws required all black men and women to carry what was essentially a passport containing all their personal details, and anyone caught in a public place without this information would be arrested. on that day, 53 years ago, thousands of black south africans showed up to the sharpeville's police station without their passbooks with the sole purpose of being arrested. they thought this would cause prisons to become overcrowded, labor to halt and grind the government to a halt. instead, it became a blood bath, the sharpeville massacre.
a few days later, nelson mandela burned his passbook in front of hundreds and the press. the arms struggle was launched. at this moment, the president and first lady are in route to south africa to take part in a memorial service for nelson mandela. while here at home, an entire generation of americans curious about the life and legacy of nelson mandela will be able to go see the film "mandela: long walk to freedom," opening on christmas day. it's my pleasure to introduce idris elba, who portrays mandela in the film, and justin chadwick, director of the film. >> how are you doing, chris? >> thank you. >> justin, how do you get a movie made about nelson mandela, a big-budget movie made about nelson mandela in this day in age when it's very hard to get producers interested in films that are nontransformer related? >> well, my producer had written to me while in prison and he was a young activist filmmaker,
distributor, producing movies that were illegal to produce at that particular time. and when madiba came out of prison, he gave him the book and gave him the rights to make the book into a movie. and it's taken all these years as a producer to finally realize it. it's an african movie shot in south africa, financed in south africa, and we did it. idris and i went to the country, and i lived there for a year, talking to the men and women on both sides of the struggle that they had former relationships with, so, the family, the daughters, men and women, the jailers, the men who were on b robbro robben island with him, so we could understand the story more fully. >> the immersion definitely comes through. it strikes me as the hardest thing to do as an actor, play an iconic, actual person, because there's a fine line between impersonation and acting, and people know what mandela looks like, what his smile was like, his voice. how did you approach that? >> i mean, there's no doubt, we
were so aware that i don't look anything like mandela, and we were asking the audience to make a big leap of faith for me. but ultimately, you know, one thing that i found in our research about mandela is that people talk about his presence, his aura, you know? and that's -- he has a real big presence, you know. he leaves the room, people have an impression made by mandela. so, you know, that was a big, big task for us to try and bring that to life in a movie, you know what i'm saying? like, if you're watching a reality show, you can feel someone's aura and they end up reality shows, but this is mandela. this is a man that, you know, a worldwide citizen. and to try to encapture him into a film, into a character with an actor that doesn't look like him was a big ask for the audience. >> how much was it the voice? i mean, i think people that were first introduced to you as an actor on "string a bell on the wire," first time they hear you interviewed -- i speak for myself -- first time i heard you interviewed, i was like, whoa, hold the phone.
i'm like, where is he from? because you nailed the baltimore, american accent in the show. how much vocal work did it take to get that specificity in this role? >> to be honest it was an ongoing process. i didn't stop doing it until the very last day, you know. i worked twice -- i worked with two voice coaches, a woman who worked on mandela's, you know, original tongue, his original language. then there was a woman called fiona, who worked on sort of the technical aspects of what mandela's doing with his voice, his nasal, his palate, all that stuff. so, it was just an ongoing process, you know? you know, i have an ear for it. >> clearly. >> but i just wanted to give the audience something to really hold on to, you know, in terms of the fact -- they're watching idris. they know it's idris and they sometimes think it's string a bell, but ultimately, i'm asking them to believe this is mandela, so the voice was an inroad for them. >> right. you choose to portray this portion of mandela's life which hasn't gotten a ton of
attention, i think, in the recent press after his death, about this taking up the arms struggle that happened that was the period after sharpeville until he was put in prison. why was that important for you to bring to life on film? >> well, it was the whole story. i mean, this is his biography. these are his words. i mean, that was what the film intended to show, the whole of his life, to understand him as a young man and to understand him as the man, as the father, as the husband. that was important. and those decisions he made, those difficult decisions he made after sharpeville, when the anc had been a peaceful protest out of, you know, what the other leaders had said. it was a fepeaceful -- he made that decision to move to violence and to do that. then when he comes out of prison, the complete opposite of that. when everybody was thinking the country was on the tipping point of a blood bath, mandela paved the way for peace and forgiveness. >> right. do you feel like as an actor playing a role like that, that you achieved some emotional
insight into the kind of dexterity that allowed mandela to move through these tremendously different phases, from enemy of the state to head of state? >> i mean, yes. i mean, obviously, you know, there's a certain amount of license that's given to the writer that actually has to do a lot of the construction of the sort of, the emotional journey that the audience go along on, and i certainly bring along that, help that journey along, but the truth is about this story, it's his true story, you know? our job was really editors, to figure out what part of the story do we tell and give to the audience, you know? there's never going to be a satisfied audience in a mandela film, because unless they're willing to sit for five hours, there's going to be some edits. >> aside from being a remarkable life, the longevity is amazing. the other night we were talking about saying he went to prison for 27 years, and then it's the next chapter -- well, 27 years is a very long amount of time. >> you know, his story could keep going. like, just the other day he
died. and in his hometown in soweto, you know, the people are celebrating. why are they celebrating? the world's a little bit confused by looking at these images of people dancing around, but you know, they man lived 95 years, and in that time, he not only made an impression on the world, not only made an impression on south africa, but made an impression on the world. that is to be celebrated, you know. so, you know, justin and i, honestly, for the last couple of days have been sort of in an awkward position, because as filmmakers, we don't want to be sitting here and looking fortuitous, saying he died and we're in a movie celebrating his life, but the truth is, we do want to celebrate his life. >> it strikes me as an outside observer that there is nothing better than to have a moment when there is going to be appetite in an american audience to find out about this man, to have this thing for them to go find out about. and a film that comes from his autobiography that tells the whole relatively unvarnished tale of mandela. director justin chadwick, actor idris elba of the new film "long walk to freedom," it's a great
pleasure. thank you very much. coming up, the tea party, good thing or bad thing? >> anybody here in any tea parties? >> yeah. >> is that a great deal or what? >> that's a great question. is the tea party a great deal or what, or is it destroying the republican party? we'll debate that. a subaru... ...are the hands that do good things for the whole community: the environment, seniors, kids, and animals. that's why we created the share the love event. by the end of this year, the total donated by subaru could reach 35 million dollars.
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fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make the most of every moment. ask your dermatologist about humira, today. clearer skin is possible. why should you vote for me? because i do not wear high heels. [ laughter ] i have cowboy boots. they have real [ bleep ] on them. >> i'm not a witch. i'm nothing you've heard. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. >> what do you mean, when he means second amendment remedy? second amendment remedies, anything? why won't you answer what second amendment remedies means? nothing at all? >> even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that god intended to happen. >> that is the tea party we know and love, the fount of so many mockable electoral disasters
over the past two election cycles, but there is a less talked about side of the tea party, one that's been brutally effective imposing its will on washington and the nation. we'll talk about the tea party model what it means for politics and policy and whether democrats should be using a similar policy. my mantra? family first. but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive,
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feed has to be read to be believed, has filed to run against incumbent texas republican senator john cornyn for cornyn's senate seat. that's right, cornyn's getting a primary challenge from the right, and that news brings this loaded headline, courtesy of the "washington post." "for 2014 midterm elections, republicans may decide to be cautious." there's a lot going on here. let's start with the use of the word may, they may decide to be cautious, but hey, they aren't taking reckless off the table. then there's the fact that you almost never see the words republicans and cautious in the same sentence. cautious is not a word you associate with the modern gop, due in part to the rise of the moderate tea party, the tea party that gave us the government shutdown two months ago, that dragged the republican party's approval rating to an all-time low. it's the tea party that propped up a slew of extreme candidates who lost winnable races for the gop in the last two election cycles. it's the tea party that would like to replace senate republican leader mitch mcconnell, the very, very, very occasional deal-maker who might be majority leader if not for the same tea party, and as it
the tea party that's become such a toxic political brand, polling show its very unfavorable views have tripled since 2010. but there is another side to the tea party's story. while it may have been terrible politics, the tea party has been good policy for the gop, at least from the perspective of those who want to shrink the government. without the tea party, we probably wouldn't have had the disastrous sequester cuts and other austerity measures that the congressional budget office says have set the government on a path to the lowest level of discretionary spending relative to gdp in more than half a century. and without the tea party, there would not be this unrelenting focus in washington on more spending cuts at a time when the budget deficit has been rapidly shrinking. so, as we prepare to close the books on the first year of what is on track to go down as the least productive congressional year in history, it's time to ask, despite all of its many faults, whether the tea party has been a boom to conservatism in america? karen finney, host of "disrupt" weekends on msnbc, and sam
seater, host of the online political talk show and podcast "majority report," and david zeroda. karen, what do you think, has it been good or bad for conservatism, the tea party, and not good or bad for the country. i think everyone at this table agrees it's bad for the country, really bad for the country, terrible, destructive in all the way as talk about all the time, but good or bad for the conservative movement? >> bad, because particularly if you think about the 2014 election, that election is going to be nationalized. and the problem when you have a nationalized election is you have to have a unified message. they don't have that. the conservative message is very garbled by the tea party. and so many of them are spending so much of their time, money and resources to run away from each other rather than trying to say, okay, can we all agree on something and get something done. the one thing they agree on is how much they hate barack obama. you can't win on just hate and no. >> this is a political theory i've heard before, which is that particularly primary battles are damaging, right? that they, essentially, they make you spend money you wouldn't otherwise spend, they
damage the eventual nominee. sometimes they end up putting a person like christine o'donnell who has no chance of winning, and you boot away a seat, but you don't seem to agree with that? >> look, if you look back to 2010, if you want to look just at sheer politics, 2010 i think sort of outweighs any damage that the tea party did for them in 2012. the bottom line is, they have been able, at least to provide cover for a center in this center in this country that i think wanted to push through more neo liberal policies, and we see that. we see that with the sequester, with the food stamp cuts, we see that with a less than large enough stimulus, we see it across the board. and so, from a policy standpoint, they're winning, and from a politics standpoint, they have increased sort of the bandwidth for what is acceptable policy implications. >> but i don't think 2010 and 2012 and 2014, i don't think you can compare all those because of the nature of the tea party each time. there was a very different sentiment about who and what the tea party is now than in 2010. and frankly, 2010, i think we got it wrong, by the way.
>> i agree, but does anyone think in 2014 democrats are going to take over the house? i mean -- >> always. >> well, here's a perfect example to me of the contrast. if you go back to 2010 and you look at harry reid, right? if democrats, if liberal democrats were primarying harry reid, people would have lost their minds and i would probably have been among them. i would be like this guy is barely going to win, if he wins. it would be terrible for the broad agenda of the center left if you take out the sitting majority leader. mitch mcconnell is getting primary votes from the center conservatives now and the base is like, oh, hell no. like, do it. >> the thing is, i think sam made the right point about the center. here now you have a situation -- your example in texas. john cornyn now looks like, i guess a moderate? if you think about it -- >> this will have the effect of making him look like a moderate. >> he doesn't want to, that's the difference. >> he may not want to, but just look at the larger effect on our politics. suddenly, steve stockman is a conservative, john cornyn is a moderate, conservative democrats
are the left, and progressives are like gone, good-bye. >> socialists, which is what we've been hearing. but part of this has to do with the kind of what the base of each coalition wants, and there's some amazing, fascinating polling on this about how liberals see themselves and identify and how conservatives do, and part of that has to do with how we feel about compromise, right, as an actual end towards making the country a better place. both of those after this break in the nation, sometimes bad things happen. but add brand new belongings from nationwide insurance and we won't just give you the partial value of items that are stolen or destroyed... ...we'll replace them with brand-new versions. so you won't feel robbed. again. just another way we put members first. because we don't have shareholders. join the nation. ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ bob will retire when he's 153, which would be fine if bob were a vampire.
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here's the polling i want to show. when you say why isn't there something like the tea party on the left, this kind of highly zealous, enforcement mechanism of the much more vision. i thought the polling says a lot about why. september 23rd gallup. "is it more important for political leaders to compromise or stick to their beliefs"? democrats, 61% compromise. republicans, 38% compromise. like, the disposition of the two bases are different, and you think that's a good thing? >> well, i do think that's a good thing, but i also think that the democratic party, we've been a big-tent party a longer time, we've been a little bit more of a coalition party for a longer time, and obviously, when i was at the dnc under howard dean, there was dean and there was reid and pelosi, but because people cared about the party, we had bush in office -- your point that there was an opposition that we realized we needed to be unified against. i actually want to give the far left in this country more credit than i think this idea does,
because yes, we don't have our own separate tea party, but i do think we have a much better, organized progressive left infrastructure that does put more pressure on members of congress than i think they get credit for. i personally have seen it happen, so i mean -- >> yeah, there are amazing people putting a lot of pressure -- >> in 1992, that didn't exist. >> i think that is true. that is true. you're absolutely right. when we talk about there is this whole elizabeth warren third way battle that's shaping up -- >> right. >> and it felt like this throwback battle, right? david, those are the battles you fought. >> that's right. >> and it seems like the third way centrist group is not being defeated. >> absolutely true. i remember when i was working at the center for american progress and we put out a report on democrats bad on the bankruptcy bill and they dragged in me and my boss to yell at them. now it's the other way around, where elizabeth warren comes out, makes a progressive statement and the momentum is with her. and i think we are actually seeing -- >> that is a crazy moment, by the way, that you got dragged in -- >> yelled at by the democratic party for opposing the bankruptcy bill. >> which a terrible bill.
>> terrible, awful bill and right now i think why the elizabeth warrens are having momentum is because you have institutions like the progressive change, like the working families party, like a number of other institutions. >> let me build on what david's saying here, because the dynamic here is different insofar as talking about getting policies through with bankruptcy, it's something transactional. liberals have a disadvantage where they're looking for government to do things, actually in some ways. and the pccc is one of those groups that does not have the same sort of stakes. >> right. >> they can burn bridges in a way that democratic and left-leaning and progressive groups in the past have not been able to do. they can actually go out there -- >> this is the difference, i think, is the virtue of recklessness, because what -- i think what you've seen with the tea party is they are reckless. i mean, they are reckless with the country, they're reckless with people's lives, but they're also reckless politically. the shutdown was reckless, right? and the question is, does the recklessness over time end up,
you know, being self-defeating or does it make people so scared of you that they just -- >> so far not! so far not, i will say, because -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> it absolutely already has! >> i think they're done as a national party, but -- >> that's no small thing! >> you might say that's a big deal -- >> insofar as i don't think they'll win the presidency, but if you look at our policy in this country, we have a democratic president, we have a democratic controlled senate and we have a sequester. we're cutting food stamps! >> and we might not even extend unemployment. >> is it an electoral win or a policy win for them? those are two different -- >> who's losing here on a national stage? >> but -- >> the question is -- >> but the flip side is, we also have the affordable care act, right? and -- >> right, which is the heritage foundation's health care bill! >> yes, but they could have, if they had taken the exit door, karen -- >> yes? >> it could have been a much more center-right bill than it was. like, the implacable opposition, actually, if they had come in in that bachus -- there are points
of time where they could have don strategic innovations when the white house wanted nothing more than a republican co-sponsor and -- >> you're asking for an amazing amount of calibration on that recklessness, because the point that brought them up to that point and cowed many groups on the left in terms of demanding more was supposedly because there was no votes there, because -- >> that's the other side of it. >> here, look. in terms of the republican party, you have, you know, serious, used to be people you could talk to, used to be people you could deal with, so terrified of being primaried. i know you think they're all, like, worthless, but i'm saying, some of them you could get some stuff done with. so, i do think in terms of the long-term damage of their party and the ability to get things done, but also the ability for them to just gum up the system, like with the sequester, like with the shutdown, because they're so terrified. and remember, originally, they thought they could control these guys. that was the difference. >> right. >> then they said, then they thought ted cruz and realized, oh, can't control these people. >> here's what i say. i think actually, what we've learned is recklessness is an
exhaustible resource and that it has conferred -- really, it's like fuel that they burn. it has conferred certain substantive advantages, but it's now burned out. karen finney, watch "disrupt" on msnbc weekends, sam seder, "the majority report." thank you, that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> thank you, chris. and thank you at home for joining us this hour. you know how some news stories are just too crazy to believe? you hear them, think you're getting it from a reputable source, but you think, yeah, no, no, this can't be, no way this could be, too crazy to be an actual thing. like for example, the other day, the story of the dead mouse bodies filled up with tylenol that the u.s. government was supposedly air-dropping over a military base on guam because the mice would attract invasive brown tree snakes that were killing all the birds on the island. however, the brown tree snakes have an achilles' heel -- they apparently cannot s